Health care stocks were slightly higher late in Thursday's session, with the NYSE Health Care Index rising 0.2% while the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV) gained 0.3%.
The Nasdaq Biotechnology index fell 0.6%.
In company news, Atreca (BCEL) shares slumped 40% after releasing initial data from a phase 1b trial of its ATRC-101 experimental cancer drug.
Merck (MRK) declined 1.7% after the drug maker reported a non-GAAP net income of $1.31 per share, above it $1.02 per share adjusted profit during the same quarter in 2020 but trailing the average analyst estimate of $1.35 per share in a Capital IQ survey. The company also projected FY21 earnings lagging Wall Street's expectations.
Colfax (CFX) shares rose 3.3% after the medical device provider priced a secondary public offering of about 6.54 million shares previously held by investors affiliated with its acquisition of Swiss artificial joint maker Mathys AG Bettlach at $43.90 per share, 3.1% below Wednesday's closing price.
Laboratory Corp of America (LH) added 4.3% after the clinical research organization Thursday reported Q2 net income and revenue exceeding year-ago levels and topping Wall Street expectations and also raised its FY21 earnings guidance along with its outlook for revenue growth.